Il trittico

Puccini Il trittico with three one-act operas directed 2007 by Christina Pezzoli at the Teatro Comunale di Modena. They are:

1. Il tabarro to libretto by Giuseppe Adami. Stars Alberto Mastromarino, Amarilli Nizza, Rubens Pelizzari, Alessandro Cosentino, Alessandro Spina, Annamaria Chiuri, Roberto Carli, Chiara Moschini, and Allessandra Cantin.

2. Suor Angelica to libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. Stars Amarilli Nizza, Annamaria Chiuri, Elisa Fortunati, Paola Leveroni, Katarina Nikolič, Paola Santucci, Alice Molinari, Camilla Laschi, Alessandra Caruccio, Alessandra Cantin, Paola Leggeri, Margherita Pistoni, Tiziana Tramonti, Beatrice Sarti, Dan-I Kuo, and Chiara Moschini.

3. Gianni Schicchi to libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. Stars Alberto Mastromarino, Amarilli Nizza, Annamaria Chiuri, Andrea Giovannini, Alessandro Cosentino, Tiziana Tramonti, Grigorij Filippo Calcagno, Maurizio Lo Piccolo, Alessandro Spina, Mirko Quarello, Katarina Nikolič, Gian Luca Ricci, Alessandro Busi, Romano Franci, and Antonio Manosperti.

Julian Reynolds directs the Orchestra della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini, the Coro Lirico Amadeus---Teatro Comunale di Modena (Chorus Master Stefano Colò) and the Coro di Voci Bianche del Teatro Comunale di Modena (Chorus Master Melitta Lintner). Sets by Giacomo Andrico; costumes by Gianluca Falaschi; lighting by Cesare Accetta; directed for TV by Loreena Kaufmann. Released  2012, disc has 7.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. This is the same disc as an earlier Il trittico released by TDK in 2009; it appears to be the same as the earlier release except the artwork is different and Arthaus apparently dropped the Italian subtitles. Here we have reproduced most of the mini-review from the 2009 article. Grade: A

Puccini's Il trittico or Triptych has three one-act operas with two obvious things in common. First, each has a corpse; second, each work is completely different from the others. Il tabarro is opera verismo laden with social criticism; Suor Angelica a work of inspiration with a supernatural miracle; Gianni Schicchi is a boisterous comedy with no redeeming feature except that it's a great way to trick children into watching an opera. This was my first experience with Il trittico, and I'm glad I watched it cold. I was expecting to be bored with the two relatively unknown works leading up to the famous Gianni Schicchi. So I was surprised to find both Il tabarro and Suor Angelica to be completely absorbing. Now I understand why Puccini insisted that all three of these operas should be presented only together on the same program.

I'm also ashamed to admit that before I saw this HDVD, I had never heard of Modena, its opera house, of Cristina Pezzoli, or of Amarilli Nizza. Well, now I have learned there are opera houses all over Italy with rich production traditions. Such a house in a town of 200,000 Italian souls can produce, using 100% Italian signers, a show that can compete with the work of the most famous and best-financed opera companies in the world. This is exactly what Pezzoli pulled off. Every aspect of the music, direction, acting, settings, costumes, and lighting is exemplary. And don't think this was a small task because each opera in this work is short. There are 43 credited roles in this disc, and only three singers appear in all three operas. The three sets have nothing in common. Back stage at Il trittico is going to be a busy place!

These operas here have another thing in common that is not so obvious: Amarilla Nizza sings lead soprano in all three. Il tabarro demands plenty of the female lead, especially in the acting department. Suor Angelica is totally draining in all departments. In Gianni Schicchi the lead lady gets a little rest---all she has to do is nail one of the most famous of all arias ("O mio babbino caro"). Most productions of Il trittico are cast with two or three sopranos. But Nizza handles all the different roles, and she does it so well that I didn't realize until I studied the keep case booklet that I had seen the same soprano three times!

The video, sound, and production work on this disc are excellent. The keep case are fine, and TDK elected not to waste our time with inane extras. According to information from vendors, Arthaus dropped the Italian subtitles, which is a shame if you are trying to learn opera Italian.